Monday, July 24, 2006

Here's an Interesting Question ...

From Clayton:> > I'm not a singer myself, but I am an opera lover and try to keep up with reading about the art. Is it not still the norm for voice students to stick with Mozart or roles by other composers which are less demanding on the voice early in their studies? The spinto roles come later, provided they have the voice for that? Or are we seeing young singers pushing themselves too hard too soon now? Privately:The idea that Mozart's music is "less demanding" will meet with comments of the order of: Clearly, you are *not* a singer. Mozart did write some relatively simple music, but if you feel that "Il mio tesoro", or Elettra's arias, or "Come scoglio" or any of dozens more is less difficult than Strauss or Busoni is ludicrous. And that relates only to the technical demands; the interpretive ones are greater still.I think I know what you mean and you are not entirely in error, but you are unlikely to get people to reach your meaning when your wording stirs up such strong responses. In fact, there are some singers who have dramatic voices when quite young, but the rule is similar to your thesis.Mike--

Well, I imagine you're going to hear a lot of feedback on this one. It's atopic that has a lot of layers.First and foremost, singers need to sing the music that fits their voice.This can only be done with a good teacher, a good coach and a lot ofexperimentation. While studying Mozart is very important for learning howto spin out a pure line, manage dramatic coloratura and sung recitative (asis the bel canto rep), a steady diet can inhibit the growth of a dramaticvoice or even wreck it, just as singing too much heavy rep can wreck a lyricvoice. There are many singers who began as lyrics and blossomed into more spintoand dramatic repertoire, but as with everything in life, there areexceptions. Dramatic voices usually don't develop that way. In eras goneby, singers with the appropriate voice sang the "heavier" repertoire intheir twenties and had long, healthy careers. However, in those days,performance opportunities were different from today where this is moreemphasis on baroque and classical rep than there used to be. They had moreopportunities to perform their rep and refine their craft. It's verydifficult to find your way when you only do 2-4 performances of a new rolein a regional opera house. On the other hand, you can also ruin yourselfworking the Fach system in Germany by being pressured to sing too manyrehearsals and performances. My observation is that today's vocal schools are stressing a little too muchcaution, which has created a scarcity of the bigger voices needed forPuccini, Verdi and Wagner. Just my opinion.Stella

I firmly agree with this observation. Singing coaches, IMHO, are so terrified of "pushing" the voices of their students that they are holding back potential dramatic voices. We have a whole generation of Mozart and Handel singers now. Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner voices have fallen victim to their coaches' horrified "(gasp)...oh no,...far too'll ruin your voice...wait till you're forty..."Henson

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